Dr. Sanderson disucsses what a woman should do if she has a family history of lung cancer.
A family history of a malignancy in the lungs or elsewhere is important in predicting whether an individual is going to become afflicted. First of all, she should of course avoid smoking and the environmental pollutants that might contribute but it’s important for anybody who has a strong family history of lung cancer or any other serious disease to have periodic examinations and maintain relations with a primary care physician to look out for signs of a malignancy or any other serious health problem.
Unfortunately many people who develop lung cancer have no symptoms early on and they are not prompt in to seek medical attention. However, if an individual who is at high risk and this would be an older individual, usually over 45 or 50, who has been a smoker or who has been otherwise exposed to air pollution, if they develop change in their cough, if they have bloody sputum in their cough, if their cough becomes more localized on one side of the chest or the other, new development of wheezing, shortness of breath with a noisy wheezing breathing that comes on in an individual who is beyond 50, that would be a symptom. That would prompt attention.
Rarely we will see an individual who develops pain but that’s usually a manifestation of an advanced malignancy beyond the chest.
About Dr. Sanderson, M.D.:
Dr. David R. Sanderson, M.D., practices at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, specializing in pulmonary care. Dr. Sanderson attended the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. He completed his residency and fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.